It was a Tuesday like any other, I got into the office early and did a book report that was way past its due date, Deep and wide by Andy Stanley amazing book which I personally recommend to anyone who is pastoring or wants to pastor a church, let’s just say it will disturb you and inspire you at the same time. So I did my report and send it via Skype to my boss, yeah he is cool like that ;). My next step was Facebook I am in charge of the church account so basically I was busy uploading stuff, responding to messages , praying and just sharing information when a colleague asked me if I knew Maryanne (names have been changed) I said “sure thing what’s up ?, she went on to tell that she had seen a message from one of our common friends on Face book saying that Maryanne had passed on, I snorted and quickly searched Maryanne’s name on the Facebook engine only to find countless number of messages all verifying what my colleague had just shared. I can’t really explain what happened next but between not being able to breathe and calling another friend to really confirm what I had just read and calling a member of the family to give my condolences I mean everything was just happening too fast.
Two weeks prior to the news I had met with Maryanne at a mutual friends boutique, she had come to pick a dress which from our conversation would be for the evening party for a wedding she was attending I on the other hand was picking a dress for a coffee date which was to take place the next day, I remember her admonishing me about my disappearing act from her life and went on to mention how I haven’t even visited her in her new home. I agreed, not one who liked to argue especially when I know I am in the wrong and a date was to be set once our social calendars were less engaged and with that we said our goodbyes not knowing that it would be the last time I would ever see, touch, talk and hear her speak. So Tuesday came as a complete shock, and denial was my first reaction. It couldn’t be, not here, not now. But the thing about death is that its so final and there wasn’t much to do but pray and cry and pray some more and cry some more, I wasn’t even sure what I was praying for…all I know is that I talked God’s ears off that day.
Prayers at my church happen on Tuesday at 6pm and at some point I had to get myself together to ensure that everything was set for prayer time, at 6 sharp I was seated in my usual corner and song after song was sung all praising and worshiping this wonderful God whom I felt had failed miserably, you see in my human mind its somewhat understandable for death to take away someone who is sick, someone who is old, someone who is in pain, someone who is not following Him or serving Him or even someone who doesn’t believe in Him, It might not be fair but it’s understandable, But Maryanne…she, she was so full of life, she was healthy, she was a mother, a wife, she served God daily , her smile was an encouragement to any kind of storm and I……I just couldn’t understand. When the choir began to sing “Be Magnified Oh Lord” I wanted to punch someone in the face….how can He be magnified, how can He be exalted at a time like this…….But still I found myself standing up, raising my hands and after a while began to sing along and telling Him that He is still magnified and exalted regardless of my situations regardless of my circumstances. I told Him I dint understand Him at times and I wasn’t happy with how things turn out at times that He had a lot of explaining to do when I got to heaven.
You see many times in this life we rejoice when everything is honky dory, when God is answering prayers, when our friends are receiving miracles, when our children are making right choices, when God is present and near and you can feel Him and touch Him and everything is just working out as best as we can imagine. But when tragedy strikes, when there are cracks in our relationships, when we lose someone we love, when we get fired, when terrorists invade our country when our whole world literally turns upside down, praising God becomes so hard, so difficult, the “why” questions is asked over and over again and we want someone to explain what is going on and why this is happening to us. We blame God, call Him names and for most Christians it is so easy for us to lose our faith, to give up, to throw in the towel, to be so overcome with such hopelessness. And if we are not careful we might never recover or even if we do we would have lost much more than we had planned to.
Sorrow and pain are not easy nor are they uncommon to us all , as a matter of fact no one escapes sorrow or pain depending on their wealth, status in society , marriage status etc…we all experience it at some point in our lives. The bible on the other hand has endless verses that let me know hey there is going to be pain here and this is what the Lord has promised to do concerning it……
Psalm 147:3 ESV: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Matthew 5:4 NIV: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
John 16:33 NIV: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
But the most my most interesting verse on all this is in Habakkuk 3:17-18 which says Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit; though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation.
Meaning that regardless of what life throws at me, what I lose or gain and how much I suffer I will rejoice in the Lord who saved me, I will continue to bless this God. When we sing songs like, Still –Hill song United, Praise you in the storm –casting crowns on normal days they are just songs we sing but when it really matters its hard and it’s okay for them to be hard but remember God doesn’t change, He is not shocked by the happenings in the world or in your life , He sees all things knows all things and I am confident that the pain i feel, the pain you feel , the hurt will go away at some point but God will forever be God and a song like, Never would have made it –Marvin Sapp would finally make so much sense.
For my generation.